Adequate alternatives to the sometimes tediously wordy originals, though the lack of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present...

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SCROOGE

From the Classic Graphic Novel Collection series

A double dose of Dickens, severely “adapted” in this graphic format but featuring illustrations that thicken the period atmosphere.

Though both paraphrased stories, originally published in French, show signs of careless translation in occasional typos and misquoted lyrics, it’s their plots that have taken the most punishment. Squiring the shaken Scrooge through time, Marley’s ghost is the only specter in “A Christmas Carol,” and in the lesser-known “A Remembrance of Mugby,” a kind drifter looking for a home adopts a child who is not, in the original, either fatherless or abandoned. The tales are nonetheless still coherent and bear both their sentiment and their lessons well. In Meyrand’s small sequential panels, the Victorian settings are evoked in fine but clear details of dress and décor. The artist ably captures mood with lighting that ranges from deep shadows to rich golden tones and sensitively depicts Scrooge’s remorse and inner transformation, as well as the fundamental decency of the unnamed protagonist of the other episode, in expertly drawn body language and changes of expression.

Adequate alternatives to the sometimes tediously wordy originals, though the lack of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come seems a major loss. (biographical sketch) (Graphic classic. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59707-346-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

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Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Definitely on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, but less vicious with the satire and therefore all the more welcome. (Graphic novel....

ARIOL

JUST A DONKEY LIKE YOU AND ME

From the Ariol series , Vol. 1

Scenes from the life of a middle-grade Everydonkey.

Aside from a few tears after being suddenly struck by the expressions “dumbass” and “dumb as a donkey” (his mother gently joshes him out of his funk), Ariol travels a relatively gentle emotional landscape in this series opener. Giggle-inducing episodes usually involve Ariol’s friend Ramono the pig, who sets off a nose-to-nose, no-hands game of “pass the tissue” at school and later brings fake vomit on a class outing (“My dad had bought it to play a joke on my mom, before their divorce”). Other experiences range from providing commentary for a triumphant tennis match against illusory opponent Stevie McFailure to cutting up in gym and, in the finale, suffering a nightmare in which he has to choose between class crush Petula the cow or becoming an interstellar knight with beloved equine superhero Thunder Horse. Boutavant arranges the all-animal cast in large sequential panels that never look crowded even when the dialogue balloons multiply.

Definitely on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, but less vicious with the satire and therefore all the more welcome. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59707-399-8

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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